New Modern European Restaurant Portico Prime Takes Over The Prime Society at Dempsey Hill

Seven years on, steak specialist The Prime Society bids farewell, shutting its doors at Dempsey Hill. Taking over the space is Portico’s second restaurant, Portico Prime, having gained popularity with its first establishment at Alexandra Road.

At two-week-old Portico Prime, it’s all about pleasing the palate with unexpected flavors and textures. The Chef at helm is one of our own – 29-year-old Nixon Low, having first earned his chops at Saint Pierre and Restaurant ANDRE.

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill – Review by Gourmet Adventures

This casual Modern European restaurant takes on a fresh new look (as opposed to the darker hues of its former resident), allowing beams of sunlight to stream through its floor-to-ceiling window panes, while its menu showcases the richly marbled Wagyu A4 ribcap ($58 per 100g; $78 as part of four-course signature menu) from the Tochigi prefecture, exclusive to Portico – served simply with roasted ratte potatoes, vine cherry tomatoes and a truffle beef jus that is pure perfection. The juicy red meat glistens with its natural jus, its middle; dark and chewy by sheer content of streaks of fat. It is an exemplar of its kind.

Wagyu A4 ribcap ($58 per 100g) at Portico Prime

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill - Wagyu A4 Ribcap – Review by Gourmet Adventures

On its four-course signature menu ($78) is a collection of heirloom tomatoes ($24); delicate yet robust enough to rise above its companions of crisp jamon serrano and red onion. Organic quinoa and marinated Hijiki seaweed add a pleasant sweet-salty crunch, finished with frozen honey melon dressing that rains down refreshing pellets of flavors on the tongue.

Collection of heirloom tomatoes ($24) at Portico Prime

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill - Collection of Heirloom Tomatoes - Review by Gourmet Adventures

The surprise comes when the Chef arrives with the soup. Caramelized leek and potato soup ($22) looks like moat of cream with a floating platform of brioche crouton. The surprise: the rich cream bears a hint of sweet savoriness achieved from crossing vectors of potato and smoked eel, its moist and crisp brown butter toasted brioche amping up the rich meter. The use of smoked eel is a creative twist of a simple, but satisfying dish.

Caramelized leek and potato soup ($22) at Portico Prime

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill - Leek and Potato Soup - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Believing in using as much local and sustainably farmed quality produce as possible, the pan-seared sea bass ($38) is a barramundi farmed off the shores of Pulau Ubin by Tiberias Harvest – ensuring freshness of up to a mere two hours before it reaches the plate. Here, the fish is cooked to perfect enhancement of its natural sweetness, complemented by a buerre blanc sauce cleverly interlaced with trout roe that really augments its flavor. (Notice the creative use of ingredients that interject unexpected flavors to each dish.) Vine cherry tomatoes and a carrot and ginger purée form an inlet around the fish, bringing a sense of ‘raw’ sweetness to the dish. Also present, but of less interest, is a side of roasted ratte potatoes to make up heft.

Pan-seared Pulau Ubin sea bass ($38) at Portico Prime

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill - Pulau Ubin Barramundi - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Dessert is a specialty of Chef Low. At Portico Prime, the deconstructed black forest ($17) outgrows its humble beginning at Petite Menu. Its concept is constant, ingredients such as dark chocolate mousse, cherry, hazelnut “soil” and caramel ice cream; similarly gelling together in perfect unison. In the upgraded version, 70% dark Valrhona chocolate mousse pairs beautifully with cherry coulis – its bittersweet fruitiness cutting through the rich quenelle of caramel ice cream. Again, textures of crunch are added in the form of hazelnut “soil” and a “surprise element” of popping candy (which is expected of the Chef), garnished with edible flowers. Every bite is bliss.

Deconstructed black forest ($17) at Portico Prime

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill - Deconstructed Black Forest Dessert – Review by Gourmet Adventures

We eat to our fill, yet we eye the braised Wagyu beef cheek in mulled wine ($48) and chilled truffle-scented angel hair pasta ($28; avruga caviar kawa ebi shrimps and seasonal black truffle available as a supplement) that we know we will be back for.

Chilled truffle-scented angle hair pasta ($28) at Portico Prime

Portico Prime at Dempsey Hill - Truffle Scented Angel Hair Pasta - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Available as part of their opening specials from now till December 31, is a complimentary bottle of house wine with four signature tasting menus ($78).

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Portico Prime, 10 Dempsey Rd., #01-20, 6474-7427. Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:30-12:30am.

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Categories: Business Lunches, European, Fine Dining, Modern Cuisine, New & Noted, Restaurants, Reviews, Romantic Spots


  1. What to Eat this Weekend: Singapore Takeout (Dec 4-6) | GOURMET ADVENTURES - December 4, 2015

    […] Nixon Low of two-week old Portico Prime will also be showcasing his dessert creation, ‘Masala Tehramisu’ […]

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